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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
A timeless tale of childhood, innocence and the loss of both
"To Kill a Mockingbird" takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1930's. Through the eyes of "Scout" Finch we meet her brother Jem and their father Atticus, and behold the effects of the Great Depression on the residents.
What seemed to be a quiet summer is suddenly shaken by the arrest of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white young girl. Atticus accepts being Robinson's defense attorney, a choice that the ordinary people of Maycomb do not understand nor approve. At one point, Scout asks his father why he accepted the case, since it can only cause problems to him. Atticus replies it is the only way for him to hold his head up in town.
During the trial, Atticus' interrogation skills bring some contradictions to light, thus arising the doubt about Robinson's guilt, which almost everyone thought initially undeniable. With his final speech, he manages to shake the conscience of his townsfolk, giving Robinson a small but unexpected chance.
Every member of the Finch represents a stage of life: Atticus is the adult, the father who tries to rise his children while hoping they will inherit a world better than the one he has to live in; Scout personifies all the innocence inherent to a 4-year-old child; and Jem is almost a teenager who is just beginning to realize how the world really works.
The story is based on Harper Lee's novel of the same title, which the film follows very closely, and makes us return to childhood, that time when the world seemed infinitely simpler than it is in fact, wishing that Atticus Finch (a sublime Gregory Peck in an Oscar-winning performance) was our father.